Via Mark Feinsand: There is expected to be mutual interest between the Yankees and free agent-to-be Carlos Beltran this offseason. The team figures to be in the market for an outfielder and offensive thump in general, while Feinsand hears Beltran would “strongly consider” coming to the Bronx. He’s shown plenty of interest in wearing pinstripes in the past, on multiple occasions too. The Cardinals will surely make Beltran a qualifying offer after the season, so he’ll cost a first round draft pick (#18 overall) to sign.
Beltran, 36, hit .296/.339/.491 (132 wRC+) with 24 homers and a career-low 6.3% walk rate in 600 plate appearances this year. The walk rate is a red flag because older players tend to stop drawing walks when they have to cheat by starting their swing earlier to compensate for lost bat speed. Beltran has now played in 140+ games in each of the last three years, effectively putting any lingering concern about the health of his knees to rest. His defense isn’t all that good anymore, but he could spend time at DH and there isn’t much ground to cover in right field at Yankee Stadium anyway.
There is an obvious spot for a guy just like Beltran — legitimate switch-hitter with power, patience and the ability to hit for average from both sides — in the Yankees lineup. I didn’t think that was the case two years ago mostly because his knees were huge question marks, but things have changed since then. As an added bonus, Beltran dominates in the postseason (career 204 wRC+ in the playoffs), which would be helpful if the Yankees manage to put together a team capable of actually getting to the postseason in the next year or two.